Published on Academy of American Poets (

Searching for Light

translated by Julia Sanches

The light retires to the lamp
and suddenly all is dark again
who out there has caught the night-moth
and instructs it in shadow?

After countless drills
the torn-winged moth
no longer knows how to fly
and trails through the twilight
crawling snail-slow
toward the light.


Originally published in the July 2018 issue of Words Without Borders. Copyright © Yao Feng. Used with permission of the author. Translation © 2018 by Julia Sanches. All rights reserved. 


Yao Feng

Yao Jingming, known by the pen name Yao Feng, was born in Beijing, China, in 1958. He studied Portuguese language and culture and received his master’s degree in Portuguese literature from the University of Macau. He then received his PhD in comparative literature and world literature from Fudan University in Shanghai, China.

Feng has authored many poetry collections in both Chinese and Portuguese and is a translator of Portuguese poetry into Chinese. His English-translated collections include One Love Only Until Death (Vagabond Press, 2017), When the Fish Close Their Eyes (Association of Stories in Macao, 2007), and the chapbook In Brief (Chinese University Press, 2012), featuring poetry in both English and Chinese.

In 2004, Feng won the Rougang Poetry Award, and in 2006, he was awarded the Ordem Militar de Santiago de Espada medal by the president of Portugal. Feng is a professor and head of the department of Portuguese at the University of Macau. He lives in Macau.

Date Published: 2018-09-01

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